'Cigar Papers' Sold as Taste Treats

'Cigar Papers' Sold as Taste Treats
Posted by CN Staff on September 08, 2004 at 15:30:46 PT
By David Perry, Sun Staff
Source: Lowell Sun 
Ah, the Royal Blunt. A 3- by 5-inch sheet of tobacco and premium paper that comes in 13 flavors including sour apple, chocolate, watermelon, black cherry and cognac is selling for about a buck apiece at area convenience and liquor stores. Rolled around a strawlike plastic tube to keep it fresh and pliant, the Royal Blunt is a "cigar paper," meant only for those of legal age, to roll their own cigars, according to Royal Blunt, the Raleigh, N.C.-based manufacturer.
It is perfectly legal to sell to those over 18 in Massachusetts. They're sold in cities and suburbs.Even a veteran Lowell vice cop, hearing about Royal Blunts for the first time, calls them "pretty ingenious."How they're often used it a different story.Or, as the Lowell vice cop, Sgt. James Trudel says: "Well, I don't know anyone who rolls their own cigars." The term "blunts" is "a street name used to describe a marijuana and tobacco cigar," according to the Web site: The term springs from users' cigar of choice, the Phillies Blunt. Tobacco is removed from the cigar, replaced with marijuana. It holds more marijuana than a typical hand-rolled joint, looks legal and burns slower."When it became fashionable with Phillies Blunts," says Trudel, "they probably sold more of those cigars than they did in all the years they were just used as cigars."As the government's war on marijuana and other illegal drugs rolls on, a slew of budding capitalists supply tools for pot smokers. It's the sweet-smelling, resinous weed that's illegal, not the smoking implements."It's a byproduct, like Zig-Zag rolling papers," says Trudel. "That's the parallel. And unfortunately, somebody's probably making a lot of money."Royal Blunts is not the only blunt tube. According to Weed City, a smoker's product Web site, there are dozens of rolling paper and blunt wraps to choose from.And for the smoker who really cares about his health, there is Amico Sweet Leaf Palm Wraps, the only nontobacco-flavored blunts."Interesting," says Trudel of the wraps. "Instead of buying rolling papers or emptying out the cigar, you just roll it with that. Must be very popular with the kids."It is, says Sean Hernandez, 20, spending a summer afternoon skateboarding at the Hadley Field skate park in Lowell.The little red package holding a strawberry-flavored Royal Blunt is familiar."Because I work in a convenience store," Hernandez says. "I'm not into that myself." The kids all know what they are, and it's "obvious" who the sweet-flavored wraps are aimed at, he says. It's teenagers who come in looking for them. "You have to be 18 to buy them, but kids get them, too, one way or another."He says he doesn't sell to underage customers at the Tyngsboro convenience store where he works, "but they come in looking for them a lot. They make it pretty obvious. They say, 'You guys sell rolling papers?' "He says wraps like Royal Blunts are falling out of favor with young customers, though."They're getting replaced by Phillies Blunts. They're making flavored ones now."Indeed. Phillies now offers chocolate and sour apple cigars. There's a cigar named Bling Bling, also a common hip-hop term for jewelry. State health officials, long concerned about tobacco products, are particularly upset about those that target kids. In May, Massachusetts Department of Public Health Commissioner Christy Ferguson called on tobacco manufacturers to stop marketing and selling candy-flavored cigarettes that appeal to teenagers. "It is outrageous that tobacco companies are marketing cigarettes which have a tremendous appeal to teenagers," she said. "This is about preventing our young people from trying and getting hooked on smoking."Salem, Kool and Camel tobacco products included Midnight Berry, Caribbean Chill and Mocha Taboo. Another brand makes a Cherry Cheesecake cigarette. Ferguson also criticized tobacco manufacturers for appealing to black youth and urban hip-hop culture.The DPH is currently reviewing responses from cigarette makers.The U.S. Senate has since passed a bill giving the Food & Drug Administration the authority to ban candy cigarettes. It awaits action on the House.Royal Blunts' Web site also offers "urban streetwear" clothing, photos of "hunies" and hot cars and dapper hip-hoppers. Links include the rap label Cash Money Records. It also sells whole cigars."The best and most convenient way to smoke your own smoke in a natural tobacco leaf," says the site. "No longer do you have to dissect a cigar to enjoy the advantages of smoking blunts."Royal Blunts wraps have been on the market for about six years, says Al Lewis, a manufacturer's representative for the company. "They do very well." He does not know how well in terms of dollars.They're marketed to "the crowd 21 and up of cigar smokers," sold in convenience stores for between 59 cents and $1.29. "They may be used for other things, but they're really for cigars."What other things?"I can't speak on that, but I'm telling you what they're manufactured for."He says loose tobacco for making cigars is available on the market.Is the company concerned with the "other" uses?"We're concerned, but we can't tell people what to use them for.""College kids" are the ones who buy Royal Blunts," says a clerk at a liquor store in downtown Lowell, which has carried them for "a couple of months.""They're not really a big seller, not huge.""All the convenience stores in the area carry them," says one store owner who did not want to be identified."The bottom line is, it's not good for the kids, not good for the city, not good for society," says Sgt. Trudel."You know, it sure seems like something you wouldn't want kids doing," says David Lyons, seeing a package of Royal Blunts for the first time. "You'd think tobacco companies had maybe learned their lesson after Joe Camel."Lyons, 39, was visiting Lowell from Southboro for the day with his two sons, William, 8, and Joey, 6."This is right up there with radar detectors. They only seem to have a bad purpose. It seems like something you wouldn't want out there." Complete Title: 'Cigar Papers' Sold as Taste Treats, But Officials Say They're All About PotSource: Lowell Sun (MA)Author: David Perry, Sun StaffPublished: Wednesday, September 08, 2004 Copyright: 2004 MediaNews Group, Inc.Contact: letters lowellsun.comWebsite: Paraphernalia Archives
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Comment #5 posted by dididadadidit on September 09, 2004 at 08:22:23 PT
A Real Cool Joint
No fan of tobacco, but Kool filter kings, for decades, have had their menthol in the filters, not the tobacco.Replacement of the deadly drug tobacco with something fit to smoke can result in one cool mentholated joint.Cheers?
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Comment #4 posted by mayan on September 08, 2004 at 18:10:34 PT
"It's a byproduct, like Zig-Zag rolling papers," says Trudel. "That's the parallel. And unfortunately, somebody's probably making a lot of money."Yeah sure, Mr. vice cop. The government is using the taxpayer's money to cage those very taxpayers! How much money do you fascists make from asset forfeiture? And isn't it ironic that your very livelihood depends upon the prohibition of cannabis? The prohibitionists have made cannabis worth it's weight in gold and now they are crying because different products and markets spring up around it? What did these dolts expect? The way out is the way in...Wargames Were Cover For the Operational Execution of 9/11: Thompson to be on "FOX and Friends" Thursday Morning: - International Day the Lie Died:"9/11 Citizens' Commission" follows RNC in Manhattan: the Rubicon - A new book by Mike Ruppert:
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Comment #3 posted by Hope on September 08, 2004 at 17:45:55 PT
No doubt
It's "partner in crime" oriented. I can imagine that a lot of young skater types would go for that red shirt. I could certainly embarrass my grandchildren with that one!
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Comment #2 posted by Hope on September 08, 2004 at 17:17:02 PT
that site
looks like some pretty cool t-shirts.Oh...I see...only "children" like t-shirts?
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Comment #1 posted by Hope on September 08, 2004 at 16:43:52 PT
Nothing at that Phillies Blunts site
seems aimed at "children" at far as I've far
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